Even before its digital social space can truly take off, Meta is already being seen by some VR game developers as the villain of the metaverse -- thanks to soaring Quest Store fees.
According to the latest reports, several VR game creators are unhappy with the 30% cut Meta takes of revenue for games sold through its Quest Store – the main way most players download new Quest 2 games (via Financial Times).
While this is nothing new in the gaming world – Meta’s 30% cut is pretty much the same as it is on other platforms like Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store, and Valve’s Steam – many are especially upset with Meta, accusing it of being a hypocrite.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously been very critical of App Store policies, saying its approval process gives it a “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper of what gets on phones.”
Meta has defended its cut, pointing out that unlike Android and Apple smartphones it's relatively easy to download apps through third-party storefronts to its headsets. One example it gave was SideQuest which just got an update so you can install a VR version of the store straight onto your headset; developers have hit back against this though, arguing that these other stores aren’t as well known as Meta’s Quest Store – likely in part because only Meta’s own store is installed to Quest 2 headsets by default.
These complaints follow similar issues from earlier this year when it was revealed that Meta was planning to take a nearly 50% cut of all sales made in Horizon Worlds. Creators on the platform would not only be expected to pay its usual 30% fee from the Quest Store but a further 25% of the remainder for selling through Horizon Worlds. Combined this means that people selling VR items in Horizon Worlds would only take home just $0.53 on every $1 sold.
Once again Meta was accused of doubling back on previous statements it has made. Back at Facebook Connect 2021 where it first laid out many of its metaverse plans publically, Zuckerberg said that the company wants to make its services “cost less, not more.”
Speaking about building for digital platforms he added “I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things, and holding back the entire internet economy.”
Can us players do anything?
As we said above these kinds of storefront practices are nothing new and despite the efforts of fans and court battles nothing has really changed – especially not on mobile platforms. But here we might have a bit more power to reign in Meta and hopefully reduce the cost of VR games in the process.
Just like Meta pointed out, Quest 2 headset owners aren’t stuck with just one choice for buying new VR titles. Sure, SideQuest doesn’t have all the best VR games on its platform yet, but by downloading this free app you’ll increase its userbase. This in turn could help to show larger developers that the Quest Store alternative can also be a financially viable home for their VR projects.
SideQuest already has some pretty great experiences available to play right now too – many of which are free – so you’ll get an immediate benefit from downloading it today. And with its new native Quest version beta, it’s easiest than ever to browse its store and download its games. What are you waiting for?